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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sales breakdown for an indie novel

My Civil War horror novel A Fine Likeness has been out as an ebook since November and trade paperback since April. Enough time has passed that I can look at some sales trends.

Firstly, ebook edition is available on all Amazon channels and is in Smashword's premium catalog, meaning it's available through Barnes & Noble, the Apple store, Kobo, and many other outlets.

So far about 80% of my sales have been through Amazon. About 75% of all Amazon sales have been through Amazon US. Most of the rest have been through Amazon UK, with a couple of sales on Amazon Spain. I live part time in Spain so I'm not unknown here. Other Amazon channels such as Germany, Italy, and France have had no sales. Hardly surprising for a book that's only available in English.

The other 25% of total sales have mostly been through Barnes & Noble, with the next biggest seller being the Apple store. I've had a lot of people download samples from the Smashwords site but have had no sales there. Other writers tell me this is common. The general consensus is that people sample from Smashwords and buy from other sites.

While my book didn't make it into Smashwords' premium distribution until a month after it was available on Amazon, the numbers clearly indicate that Amazon is that major source for ebook sales.

Now for the print book. It came out via Createspace and is available on all Amazon channels. So far ALL sales have been through Amazon US. It may be a little early to spot any real trends, however.

So it appears that Amazon US is king for ebook sales and will remain so at least for the near future. A sizable chunk of sales have come from getting into Smashwords' premium catalog, so indie publishers should not overlook this source of income.


  1. Judging from my sales rank on Amazon US and UK, it's obviously a large portion of my royalty check.
    Ironically my first source of eBooks is the iBookstore. Probably has something to do with the hundreds of iTunes gifts cards in my possession...

  2. Nice analysis of your sales situation. I'm probably going live with the paperback version of my novel next week some time (as soon as I see the second paper proof). I'm curious how many sales the paperback will make; I've had a surprising number of people ask for a paper copy.


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